Governor Mike Pence (R) is a strong advocate for the Second Amendment who brings an undeniable pro-gun voting record to Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations.
In 2003–while a member of the House of Representatives–Pence voted to protect gun sellers and manufacturers from lawsuits resulting from “the misuse of guns” On The Issues reports that he voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 and fought against gun registration for residents of Washington DC in 2007.
Pence supported national reciprocity for concealed carry in 2009 and he stood by the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program as a way to teach gun safety to children in 2010. In 2011 he fought against the cumbersome restrictions that prevent law-abiding citizens in one state from buying a handgun from a retailer in another.
It is interesting to note the language of HR 197, the national reciprocity bill Pence supported. It said, “Notwithstanding any law of any State, a person who is not prohibited by Federal law from possessing a firearm and is carrying a valid license to carry a concealed firearm may carry in another State a concealed firearm.” The bill went on to explain that if the state to which the permit holder traveled was a concealed carry state, then the permit holder was bound to follow the concealed laws of that state. If it was not a concealed carry state, he could still carry in it, but had to follow certain stipulations spelled out in HR 197. These stipulations included prohibitions on carrying in a police station, courthouse, etc.
The interesting part of HR 197 is the way the individual’s right to keep and bear arms superseded state laws barring it. In supporting this Pence shows himself shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump, who has been clear about his belief that concealed carry is a right rather than a privilege.
In fact, in September 2015 Trump outlined his position on concealed carry, saying:
The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.
The pro-Second Amendment convictions of Trump/Pence are drawing the ire of gun control proponents who are already accusing Trump and Pence of being tools of the gun lobby. For example, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly responded to Trump’s selection of Pence with a statement, which said:
As gun owners, we cannot trust a reckless, unstable Donald Trump and a governor so firmly in the gun lobby’s grip to do the responsible thing in the face of our nation’s gun violence crisis – and that’s exactly what the Trump-Pence ticket represents. Donald Trump and Governor Pence share the gun lobby’s vision of anAmerica where everyone is armed, but no one is safe. From allowing guns in school parking lots to voting to make it easier for dangerous people to carry loaded, hidden guns, Mike Pence has a record of giving in to the gun lobby, and he’s not the kind of leader we need anywhere near the Oval Office. We need a president like Hillary Clinton: someone steady in the face of crisis with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby, the record to prove it, and a smart,responsible plan for preventing gun tragedies while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners like us.
If the selection of Pence gets gun controllers worked up to that level that quickly, there is good reason to believe Trump picked a true advocate for the Second Amendment.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.